Lagos — Reacting to the freight forwarders’ protest, the Nigerian Ports Consultative Council, NPCC, said that the whole confusion violates the principle of valuation methods legally adopted by Nigeria.
NIGERIA acceded to the Marrakech Agreement of 15th April 1994 on 2nd December 1994.
In 2008, the World Trade Organization Committee on Customs Valuation accepted, considered, ratified, and circulated a communication dated July 23, 2008, at the request of the Delegation of Nigeria Customs Service which confirmed the adoption of Transaction Value of Goods as Nigeria’s national implementing legislation pursuant to Article 22 of the World Trade Organization Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, 1994.
That legislation was passed into Law by the Nigerian Senate on May 28, 2002, and by the House of Representatives on May 6, 2003. The Clerk to the National Assembly certified it on July 8, 2003. President Obasanjo signed it into law on July 10, 2003. See the Federal Government Gazette No. 70, vol 90 of 29 August 2003. Unless this law is appropriately amended, any other method of valuation introduced by the Nigeria Customs Service is illegal, null, and void. When we talk about vehicles, there are many factors that come into play in the determination of customs value.
But my major concern is that Nigeria Customs Service has abandoned its core mandate of Trade Facilitation to pursue and implement trade frustration, harassment, and embarrassment of International Trade. Another concern is that the Government and the National Assembly that should call Customs to order is the major author of these confusions. It all started when the Federal Government began to give Nigeria Customs Service very high and ambitious revenue targets that drive them mad in their quest to meet the target.
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service derives the greatest pleasure in meeting these ambitious revenue targets. If Nigerian importers and agents die or fold up in that macabre dance, too unfortunate. If the masses suffer untold hardship and poverty, that is the business of their God. If it encourages smuggling and job loss, that is the Nigerian tragedy.
NIGERIA needs a thorough rejig and review of her international trade Policy. The current Nigeria Customs Service trend will surely grind this nation’s international trade to a halt. The best option is to suspend the current bone of contention and do what the law says no matter the perceived financial loss to the Federal Government.
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